Dams and Landslides

Three Gorges Probe

March 7, 2001

(1) South-North water diversion should come from Three Gorges, CPPCC members urge
(2) New county town of Fengjie built in landslide-prone area
(3) Scientists issue warning about sedimentation on Yangtze River

(1) South-North water diversion should come from Three Gorges, CPPCC members urge
Feb. 15, 2001 — The China News Service (Zhongxin She) reports that members of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Chongqing Municipality, are appealing to the central government to build the middle of three water intakes for the mammoth south-north water diversion scheme at the Three Gorges reservoir, rather than at the Danjiangkou reservoir on the Han River. According to China News Service, the purpose of the intakes are largely symbolic: draining water from the Three Gorges reservoir via the intakes will “link” the country’s two largest megaprojects, prove the government’s commitment to develop West China, focus the eyes of the country on environmental and resettlement problems emerging at Three Gorges, and make Three Gorges a national project, rather than a Chongqing project. The purpose of the south-north water diversion scheme is to provide water to the thirsty upper reaches of the Yellow River.

(2) New county town of Fengjie built in landslide-prone area
Feb. 15, 2001 — Hong Kong’s Mingpao Daily (Mingpao) reports that Fengjie County is speeding up construction of its new county seat so residents in Fengjie’s old county seat (which will be flooded by the Three Gorges reservoir), can be moved by the end of 2002. The Three Gorges reservoir level is scheduled to rise to 135 metres in 2003. But, in a region characterized by rugged mountains and deep canyons, and frequently stricken by landslides, it has been difficult finding enough flat land to accommodate the new town. The new town will now be built at the foot of a steep elevated area beside the Yangtze River, and will stretch 21 kilometres, making it the longest county seat in the Three Gorges area. Seventeen bridges will be built to link different parts of the town, many of which are being built on “slip masses,” making construction more difficult and slow. According to a recent survey by Fengjie County and the Changjiang Water Resources Commission, seven landslides are still active in the area and local government officials have had consider ways to preserve the reservoir’s shores.

(3) Scientists issue warning about sedimentation on Yangtze River
Feb. 14, 2001 — Guangzhou Daily (Guangzhou Ribao) reports that a five-year national study by the prestigious Wuhan University warns that, without immediate mitigating measures, heavy sediment deposits in the Yangtze River will make it China’s second “hanging river” after the Yellow River – a riverbed that is so built-up it is higher than the surrounding land and must be protected by dykes. Research results show that 180 million tons of sediment are reaching Yichang, just downstream of the Three Gorges dam. Downstream of Yichang, in the narrow, meandering and highly flood-prone Jingjiang section of the Yangtze, heavy silt deposits have forced local officials to raise the height of the Jingjiang dyke in order to protect surrounding lands: so much so that the Yangtze riverbed is now higher than Beijing Road, a busy shopping thoroughfare in the riverside city of Jingzhou. Reports Guangzhou Daily, “People are walking on the ground, but the water [in the adjacent river] is flowing above the heads of the people.” In the large Yangtze metropolis of Wuhan, downstream of the Three Gorges dam site, heavy sediment deposits are threatening the safety of shipping and several bridges spanning the Yangtze.

-END-

Three Gorges Probe welcomes submissions. However, it is not a forum for political debate. Rather, Three Gorges Probe is dedicated to covering the scientific, technical, economic, social, and environmental ramifications of completing the Three Gorges Project, as well as the alternatives to the dam.

Publisher: Patricia Adams
Executive Editor: Mu Lan
Assistant Editor: Lisa Peryman
ISSN 1481-0913

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